Nov 23, 2017 Last Updated 9:11 AM, Nov 15, 2017

The great plastic threat

Garbage patches are becoming a frequent sight in the Pacific Ocean. Garbage patches are becoming a frequent sight in the Pacific Ocean.
Published in 2017 June
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THE region faces an enormous threat from plastic bags and other synthetic material initially designed to make life easier. Every day, thousands of plastic bags are used in shops, supermarkets, department stores, restaurants and roadside market stalls.  

Thirty years ago, bread was wrapped in newspaper or newsprint, tied with string and carried under the arm from local shops to homes. The string was recycled – sometimes used to end up as part of a child’s homemade toy – and the paper was used to wrap rubbish, clean windows or light a fire.

Paper and string are bio-degradable and break down easily if they are buried or merely left at the mercy of the elements. Now, bread is pushed into plastic bags for that same journey home from stores around the Pacific. Indeed, every possible purchase from a shop is carried home in some form of plastic which will take hundreds of years to decompose.

Some households use plastic bags to hold rubbish which is removed by municipal councils.

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